SALT LAKE CITY — A former West Valley police officer accused of taking a deceased cancer patient's pain pills has been charged.
Ryan Michael Humphrey, 34, was charged late Thursday in 3rd District Court with possession of a controlled substance, a third-degree felony, and theft, a class B misdemeanor.
On June 5, West Valley police were called to a house where a cancer patient had died. Humphrey and officer Davor Halulic "were counting the deceased's medication that was on the kitchen counter top. This medication included morphine pills," according to charging documents.
Halulic observed a pill in Humphrey's hand as he was counting, and then spotted his hand moving toward his pocket, said Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill. Halulic immediately notified his sergeant and told him they all needed to go outside "and have a discussion," according to the charges.
After some talk, Humphrey took out 22 morphine pills from his pocket. Gill commended the other two officers for their integrity for addressing the issue immediately.
As soon as the group returned to the West Valley Police Department, the 10-year veteran was placed on administrative leave. He resigned from the department the next day.
Last week, when it was revealed that a West Valley officer was under investigation, Humphrey's lawyer, Lindsay Jarvis, attempted to explain what was going on with her client while not making any excuses for what he did.
She said Humphrey had spent the last five years investigating child sex crimes. He was also going through personal issues at home. He eventually took six months off to try and clear his head. But Jarvis believed he was allowed to go back to patrol duty too soon.
"He's not a criminal, he's not a corrupt cop, he's not dirty," Jarvis said. "He was really just a human being who was struggling with some pretty intense stuff. I don't want to say 'snapped,' but he was definitely at his breaking point, I would say. That was definitely rock bottom for him.3 comments on this story
"He just wasn't thinking clearly. He probably shouldn't have been at work. It's that simple. This is probably someone who shouldn't have been there. To even say he rationally thought through what he was doing, I can't even say that," she said. "I don't know if he could even formulate a thought process as to what he was actually doing (when he took the pills)."
Jarvis said her client was not addicted to pain pills and had not taken them before. She said he was currently seeking treatment for his other issues.